poem from the book Serenity

6 Questions with Serenity Author F.S. Yousaf

“What I did not expect life to hand / me was a love worth cherishing / day in and day out. / Surely, I would be / long lost without it,” F.S. Yousaf writes in Serenity, his most recently published collection. This quote reflects a return to Yousaf’s characteristic theme of love. Yousaf’s romantic musings have earned him thousands of Instagram followers and propelled his previous three collections to success. 


In Serenity, Yousaf builds on this exploration, with a focus on the intricate, daily details of love and how strong relationships can help to overcome darkness. Through juxtaposing joy and pain in his latest release, Yousaf takes readers on an uplifting, multifaceted journey. In celebration of the collection’s recent publication, Yousaf gave Read Poetry a glimpse into how he finds inspiration, how he organizes a manuscript, and his advice for new poets. 


Serenity book cover


Kara Lewis (KL): Where did the inspiration for Serenity, your latest collection, come from?


F.S. Yousaf (FSY): The inspiration for Serenity came from some dark times I experienced. There wasn’t much poetry or many quotes I could turn to to gain the hope I desired, so I wrote poems for myself. Now, these poems can be there for others, as well. 


KL: The collection is split into three sections—acceptance, hope, and tranquility. What do these three sections represent, and how did this organization inform the collection?


FSY: I believe these three sections are the essence of life. They represent parts of my own life where I found acceptance, hope, and tranquility. I organized it all together by which topics readers would want to hear most. 


KL: How does this collection both expand upon and differ from your previous books? What themes did you return to, and what new ideas did you explore?


FSY: I think I expanded upon the love poetry I’m so used to and known for writing. I absolutely adore writing about love, and including it in this collection was a goal of mine. Some new ideas I tried to explore were hope and peace, since I haven’t had much about these themes in my previous books. I think of these as poems for oneself, instead of for others. 


KL: The experience of falling in love makes up a major part of this book. How did you manage to describe such a universal experience in a personal and unique way, while also avoiding cliches?


FSY: I just wrote what felt natural to me—the kind of love I’ve always desired and the love I have now. I think it’s important to get into the nitty-gritty, the aspects of love not many talk about, and the simple things. 


KL: Nature also plays a significant role in this collection. How does nature inspire and inform your poetry?


FSY: Nature is something that brings me peace. When I want to think, I go for a walk. When a poem or story has me stumped, I sit in a park and think. Nature is an artist itself—I think it’s important we learn from one another. 


KL: What advice and encouragement would you give to aspiring poets?


FSY: I would say to keep on writing. Write anything and everything. The big emotions, the small ones. Things you feel like don’t matter. Write about it. Also be observant of how daily life operates. I think that’s a very important and underrated aspect of poetry. You can write about anything in the world—always remember that. 


Order Serenity, F.S. Yousaf’s fourth collection, here.